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This is the last blog post for The Big OH Blog. Don't worry, though. Ohio's blog for sexual politics is becoming a Tumblr! Keep reading up on state legislation, choice, and pregnancy prevention policies in Ohio at http://thebigohblog.tumblr.com/. Also, the new Tumblr is published by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio, a 501c4 advocacy organization. This means that the new Tumblr will be able to publish commentary on candidates and the 2012 election!
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Tuesday, July 17, 2012 | | 0 Comments
Columbus – Today state representatives on the House Health and Aging Committee held the third public hearing on a bill (HB 298) that would eliminate federal funding for pap tests, breast exams, and prenatal care at Planned Parenthood health centers throughout Ohio.
“In these difficult economic times, women should have access to essential health care services such as breast and cervical cancer screenings, birth control, prenatal care, and testing and treatment of STDs,” said Beth Lonn, Interim CEO of Planned Parenthood of Central Ohio. “Planned Parenthood will not let politics interfere with the health care relied on by nearly 100,000 Ohioans each year. We call on lawmakers to put politics aside and put Ohio women and families first.”
The anticipated substitute bill, which was not presented to the committee, would block federal funding under the Maternal Child Health Block Grant, the Infertility Prevention Program, the Minority HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Breast and Cervical Cancer Mortality Prevention Act, and the Violence Against Women Act from Planned Parenthood health centers in Ohio.
The bill could block women’s access to a wide range of preventive health services at Planned Parenthood health centers. For example, the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant helps to fund Planned Parenthood of Northeast Ohio’s Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies program to prevent infant mortality in Mahoning and Trumbull Counties. The program is a neighborhood prenatal outreach program for African American women, providing in-home visits for prenatal care coordination during and after pregnancy. The infant mortality rate for African American babies is almost two and a half times more than the rate for white women.
“Planned Parenthood’s doors are open to every woman in need. At any given time, we are helping up to 90 women deliver healthy babies, but over the course of the program, we have served many more,” said Celeste Ribbins, Vice President of Community Initiatives for Planned Parenthood of Northeast Ohio. “Some politicians want to cut Planned Parenthood out of the health care network in Ohio, but they can’t. We serve women who trust us and who know that Planned Parenthood will be there for them, no matter what.”
Wednesday morning, the bill to defund Planned Parenthood in Ohio will have its third hearing. Politicians are trying to score points by denying women access to annual exams, birth control, prevention and treatment of STDs, and life-saving breast and cervical cancer screenings. By "re-prioritizing" funds for family planning, they are removing access to the health care provider that so many women trust. In fact, one in five women has been to a Planned Parenthood health center at some time in her life.
Send these politicians a clear message: Not Here, Not Now. Sign this petition today and we will deliver the signatures directly to the Ohio House Health Committee.
After you've added your name to the petition, call Speaker of the House Bill Batchelder at (614) 466-8140. He will ultimately decide whether this bill is brought to the House floor for a vote. Tell him why you want to protect women's access to preventive health care from Planned Parenthood.
Finally, if you can come to Statehouse Room 116 on Wednesday, May 16th, please show your support for Planned Parenthood. The hearing room is small, so you will need to arrive by 8:30 a.m. and may have to listen from an adjoining overflow room. Don't forget to wear pink!
State Legislative Director
Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Ohio
COLUMBUS – Peppered throughout his letter to his “Fellow Pro-Life Ohioans,” Senate President Tom Niehaus reminds his readers of all the anti-woman bills that the current state legislature has passed, “more than any previous General Assembly in state history.”
It is because of this anti-woman bravado that Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Ohio is suspicious about reports that the “heartbeat bill” is dead.
“Notwithstanding news reports and headlines, Sen. Niehaus’ letter never once declares the ‘heartbeat bill’ to be dead,” said Gary Dougherty, State Legislative Director for Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Ohio. “His plea that anti-choice groups come to a consensus on the bill signals his clear desire to end legal access to all safe abortion care.”
Because Faith2Action and Ohio Right to Life are so heavily invested in their positions for and against the “heartbeat bill,” such a consensus may be unlikely. However, Dougherty asserts that is the reason for continued vigilance.
“We cannot, and will not, be lulled to sleep by claims that the ‘heartbeat bill’ is dead. This legislature has become a willing partner in the War on Women and cannot be trusted to preserve access to women’s health care options. Whether the ‘heartbeat bill’ remains an abortion ban bill or becomes an informed consent bill or a mandatory ultrasound bill, Planned Parenthood will continue to stand up for those women and their families who rely on us to advocate for their access to reproductive health care.”
Moments ago, the Ohio House voted to approve the Ohio budget, quietly closing a chapter in the effort to defund Planned Parenthood in Ohio. The budget bill did not include an amendment that would have stripped Planned Parenthood's funding for family planning health care, education programs, rape prevention programs, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and infertility treatments. That amendment was added to the bill last week and then removed in committee yesterday. (You can read media articles at the Big OH blog.)
The vote was a quiet end to this chapter thanks to all of you who spoke so loudly. Thousands of you made calls and sent emails making sure it was known that Ohio women and men support Planned Parenthood and the health care it provides for Ohio communities. Today, we clearly see the power of grassroots supporters like you. Thank you.
Of course, this chapter is part of a much larger book - a story of a national movement to attack women's health care. The Ohio Senate still has to vote on the bill, and this amendment could be re-inserted at any time. Also, the defunding amendment borrowed language from a bill that's sole purpose is to defund Planned Parenthood, House Bill 298. This bill still stands in Health Committee and will likely be the subject of the very next chapter.
Again, your work will be needed. You can sign a petition to oppose further defunding efforts here. By the end of the week, the Health Committee calendar will be released. We'll send word if hearings resume for House Bill 298.
Please continue to stand with Planned Parenthood as we help write the book on women's health care.
State Legislative Director
Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Ohio
ONN - April 25, 2012 - By Jim Heath
WOSU - April 25, 2012 - By Jo Ingles
Planned Parenthood cuts dropped from state budget review
Akron Beacon Journal - April 24, 2012 - Editorial
Ohio House panel restores Planned Parenthood money
Akron Beacon Journal - April 24, 2012 - Julie Carr Smyth
Proposal to cut Planned Parenthood funds may disappear from review
The Columbus Dispatch - April 24, 2012 - By Jim Siegel
Plain Dealer - April 24, 2012 - By Kelly Gifford
With the House set to vote, take action to defend women’s health
If drive to end Planned Parenthood’s public funding succeeds, it’s unclear who will step in
The Columbus Dispatch - April 22, 2012 - By Catherine Candisky and Justin Conley
Protect women's health
First, get to know Planned Parenthood
The Columbus Dispatch - April 20, 2012 - Letter to the Editor
Planned Parenthood In Ohio, Wisconsin Loses Battles
Democrats Attack “Ridiculous” Planned Parenthood Effort (with audio)
WOSU - April 19, 2012 - By Jo Ingles
The Columbus Dispatch - April 19, 2012 - By Jim Siegel
Ohio GOP acts to cut Planned Parenthood funding level
Ohio Republicans Move to Cut Funds to Planned Parenthood, Riling Democrats
The Daily Beast - April 19, 2012 - by Abigail Pesta
Factor of ideology
Akron Beacon Journal - April 18, 2012 - Editorial
Planned Parenthood funding in jeopardy
The Columbus Dispatch - April 18, 2012 - By Jim Siegel
Ohio GOP targets Planned Parenthood funding
Ohio House Republicans move to defund Planned Parenthood
Ohio bill would block domestic violence, cancer screening, HIV/AIDS funding for Planned Parenthood
Ohio Republicans Attempting To Defund Planned Parenthood, Give Money To Groups That Don't Provide Birth Control
Moments ago, we received assurances that language that would strip funding from Planned Parenthood for family planning health care services, rape prevention programs, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and infertility treatment programs will be removed from the state budget bill, House Bill 487. This change is expected to be voted on during today's Ohio House Finance Committee hearing at 1:30PM.
We will remain vigilant to ensure that once this language is taken out, it stays out.
Thank you for your work. Stay tuned for further updates.
What these opponents of Planned Parenthood don't realize is that there is no public support for their actions. Last month, Quinnipiac University released a poll showing 60% of voters oppose efforts to defund Planned Parenthood. When told that the federal funding is being used only for non-abortion health issues such as breast cancer screening, opposition to defunding Planned Parenthood rises to 77%.
Let's send this gang of four a clear message: their attacks on women are not welcome in Ohio. Sign this petition against the effort to defund Planned Parenthood. This will let them know that you do not support the way they treat women and women's health care.
Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) got our lobby day attendees fired up to storm the Statehouse! Check out the following video excerpts:
Yesterday, over 200 Ohioans stormed the Statehouse as a part of the 2012 Freedom of Choice Lobby Day. We came with a simple, but clear message: STOP THE HEARTBEAT BILL.
Our day began with a rousing welcome by Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) who reviewed the litany of legislation introduced this session that seeks to strip women of reproductive choice and access to health care. The heartbeat bill is just one of those bills, but it is the most egregious and a direct attempt to bring a challenge to Roe v. Wade in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Participants then headed over to the Statehouse to meet with their senators. Those who could not make the trip to Columbus participated in Lobby Day from their homes and offices. You can still join them by clicking this link and completing the simple web form.
The day concluded with a rally on the steps of the Statehouse where we heard from women and legislators about the dangers of this bill. Abortion rights activist Taba Aleem told her story of what her experience with abortion was like in 1963 - before Roe v. Wade. Her horrifying tale of suffering rape at the hands of her "doctor" - who then made her boil her own coat hanger for sterilization - was a chilling tale of why we should never go back. Nancy Pitts, of Women Have Options, and Molly Hendrix, a senior at The Ohio State University, each spoke about why they want to protect reproductive rights for women who lead healthy lives.
We were also pleased to welcome Senator Capri Cafaro (D-Hubbard) and Representative Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood), sponsors of the Ohio Prevention First Act. Both women know that prevention is the best way to reduce the number of abortions because abortion bans don’t stop abortions, they just make them dangerous. We also heard from Representatives Nancy Garland (D-New Albany), Tracy Heard (D-Columbus), and Ted Celeste (D-Grandview Heights); each adding their reasons why the heartbeat bill is just heartless.
Many thanks to everyone who joined us in Columbus and those who emailed or called their senator. You are the voice of this movement.
If you were not able to participate yesterday, there’s no better time than now. Please complete the simple web form to email your senator.
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